Tuesday, October 06, 2015
The American commander in Afghanistan now believes that United States troops did not follow their own rules in calling in the airstrike that decimated a Doctors Without Borders hospital when no American and Afghan troops were in extreme danger, according to officials with direct knowledge of the general’s thinking.
Under the Rules of Engagement (ROE) in effect in Afghanistan, Afghans are explicitly prohibited from calling in air strikes. A U.S. Joint Terminal Air Controller (JTAC) must be present on the ground. In this case, the Afghans called in GPS coordinates for the Medicin Sans Frontiers hospital which were registered with the U.S. command in Afghanistan as a hospital. Campbell authorized the strike in the absence of a JTAC and direct violation of the standing ROE order.
They now have changed their story four times!
"Shifting the US account of the Saturday morning airstrike for the fourth time in as many days, Campbell reiterated that Afghan forces had requested US air cover after being engaged in a “tenacious fight” to retake the northern city of Kunduz from the Taliban. But, modifying the account he gave at a press conference on Monday, Campbell said those Afghan forces had not directly communicated with the US pilots of an AC-130 gunship overhead.
“Even though the Afghans request that support, it still has to go through a rigorous US procedure to enable fires to go on the ground. We had a special operations unit that was in close vicinity that was talking to the aircraft that delivered those fires,” Campbell told the Senate armed services committee on Tuesday morning.”